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Buncombe COVID-19 numbers plateau
Friday, 16 October 2020 22:22

From Staff Reports 

As of midday Oct. 8, Buncombe County has counted 3,371 cases of COVID-19 and 92 deaths related to the virus, unchanged from the day before. More than 80,000 tests have been collected.

That data differs somewhat from the Johns Hopkins University report —  and the county has said its dashboard count will lag behind state-reported numbers.

Of diagnosed COVID infections in the county, 41.6 percent have been in patients between the ages of 29-45, with just over 10 percent of those infections found in minors newborn-17 years old. 

Though only 18.5 percent of positive COVID cases recorded in the county have been found in adults 65 or older, that age group represents 88 percent of Buncombe County deaths to date.

In an Oct. 7 media Q&A following the county’s weekly community update, health officials said they continue to see upticks in cases as phased reopening occurs, as well as around holidays.

It is too soon to say what impact Phase 3 will have on COVID-19 infections, PIO Stacey Wood said. Phase 3 began Oct. 2, and some bars and music venues opened at limited capacity,

“We saw our highest average increase in cases per day in July and then a decrease in August and September,” she said. “We are seeing an increase in new cases per day again, but it is probably too early to tell about any correlation with the recent lifting of restrictions.”

State Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said in an Oct. 6 news briefing that coronavirus cases were already on the upswing in the state as Phase 3 began.

It is too soon to say whether reopening is contributing to new cases, she said. 

However, she said, “As people move around more, there are more opportunities for this virus to spread.”

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Oct. 8 reported 2,428 new COVID-19 cases, up from 1,711 the day before. The state has so far counted 225,397 cases out of 3,262,720 completed tests.

By Oct. 8, 3,722 people had died from COVID-19 complications in the state, up 29 deaths from the previous day. 

There are 1,051 people hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19.

On a separate-but-related issue, Asheville City Schools announced recently that it will continue exclusively with virtual learning for at least another three to four weeks. The district has held virtual-only learning since the start of the school year in August. 

Gov. Roy Cooper gave elementary schools the option of returning to full-time in person learning starting Oct. 5. 

Buncombe County Schools began in-person learning from grades K-8 grade on Sept. 28.

Five staff members at Oakley Elementary School have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and an announcement from Buncombe County Schools dated Oct. 6, according to David Thompson.

On Oct. 7, Buncombe County Public Information Officer Stacey Wood said that as schools have returned to in-person learning, there has been no change in the age distribution of cases.

“Our highest infection rate is in the 25-49 year-old age group,” she reported. “We continue to see cases in long-term care facility residents and staff. Outside of those cases, generally we see that people are moving about more often. However, no one setting has been identified over others as a source of spread.”

Buncombe County high school students are scheduled to return to in-person instruction under Plan B on Oct. 19, following a 4-3 vote by the board of education. Students in grades K-8 will remain in Plan B until the end of the semester, Eric Narcisse reports.

Meanwhile, Asheville government offices are working toward reopening “public-facing” offices Oct. 12 with limited capacity, according to the Asheville Citizen Times.

The city shut down many offices in early spring to combat spread of the coronavirus and began holding public meetings by video conference.

City Council and committee meetings will continue to be held virtually. To watch, listen and participate in meetings, visit publicinput.com/hub/88.

Following are public facilities that are reopening.

• City Hall, 70 Court Plaza (Maximum capacity: 50).

• Municipal Building, 100 Court Plaza and all fire stations.

• Asheville Public Works and Development Services Department,  161 S. Charlotte St. (Maximum capacity: three).

• Parks and Recreation community centers are being utilized as learning centers in conjunction with local school systems and will remain closed to community groups and the general public. 

Members of the public can request other in-person services by visiting ashevillenc.gov to schedule an appointment. 

Statewide, as of  Oct. 9, North Carolina health officials said there have been a total of 227,431 COVID-19 cases in the state — an increase of 7,677 cases from the Oct. 5 report.

In addition, the state reported Oct 9 a total of 3,747 COVID-19-related deaths, with 1,065 people hospitalized due to COVID-19. There have been 3,304,819 tests completed to date.

The state reported that there are 184,422 presumed recoveries as of Sept. 28. The data is updated by 4 p.m. each Monday. 

Following are COVID-19 numbers in Western North Carolina, as of Oct. 9 (numbers are subject to change):

• Avery: 229 community cases, 15 inmates are active, 205 recovered, 1 death, according to the county (420 cases, 0 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Buncombe: 3,417 cases, 92 deaths, according to the county (3,475 cases, 91 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Cherokee: 696 cases, 18 deaths, according to the county (694 cases, 12 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Clay: 176 cases, 3 deaths, according to the county (144 cases, 3 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Graham: 214 cases, 7 deaths, according to NCDHHS

• Haywood: 638 cases, 34 deaths, according to the county (646 cases, 31 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Henderson: 2,134 cases, 65 deaths, according to the county (2,162 cases, 64 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Jackson: 738 cases, 7 deaths, according to the county (735 cases, 7 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Macon: 675 cases, 7 deaths, according to the county (670 cases, 2 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Madison: 127 cases, 1 death, according to NCDHHS

• McDowell: 1,025 cases, 30 deaths, according to the county (1,114 cases, 30 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Mitchell: 222 cases, 4 deaths, according to the county (172 cases, 3 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Polk: 333 cases, 12 deaths, according to the county (348 cases, 11 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Rutherford: 1,412 cases, 44 deaths, according to the county (1,425 cases, 39 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Swain: 186 cases, 3 deaths, according to the county (174 cases, 3 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Transylvania: 354 cases, 9 deaths, according to the county (352 cases, 9 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

• Yancey: 246 cases, 1 death, according to the county (226 cases, 0 deaths, according to NCDHHS)

 



 


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